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1920-1921 General Report For The Year

Board Of Visitors

To fill vacancies caused by the expiration of terms on July 1, 1920, the Governor appointed Hon. John Thompson Brown and Hon. J. B. Watkins to succeed themselves, and Dr. Meade Ferguson and Hon. Robert Beverley in place of Hon. Joseph A. Turner and Hon. H. M. Smith, Jr., all for the terms extending to July 1, 1924. In the spring of 1921, Hon. Robert Beverley resigned from the Board, and the Governor appointed Mr. R. Carter Beverley to fill the unexpired term extending to July 1, 1924. Following the death of Hon. John Thompson Brown, in May, 1921, the Governor appointed Mr. Robert B. Watts to fill the unexpired term extending to July 1, 1924. The Board elected Hon. J. B. Watkins as Rector.

Staff Changes

On Leave Of Absence: T. K. Wolfe, Associate Professor of Agronomy; M. C. Harrison, Associate Professor of English.

Resignations And Expiration Of Terms: T. P. Campbell, Dean of the General Faculty; W. E. Barlow, Dean of the Graduate Department; C. M. Newman, Dean of the Academic Department; E. A. Smyth, Jr., Dean of the Department of Applied Science; C. C. Carson, Commandant of Cadets; J. J. Davis, Professor of Modern Languages; C. P. Miles, Professor of Modern Languages; A. W. Drinkard, Professor of Economics and Political Science; J. M. Johnson, Professor of Mechanic Arts; H. S. Stahl, Professor of Biology; J. S. Nicholas, Associate Professor of Veterinary Science; J. C. Hart, Acting Associate Professor of Agronomy; F. L. Hill, Instructor in Graphics; Grace Townley, Specialist in Home Economics, Extension Division; T. C. Johnson, Jr., Instructor in English; A. G. Smith, Instructor in Horticulture; R. M. Patterson, Instructor in Animal Husbandry.

Promotions: J. R. Hutcheson, Director of Extension Division; Mary M. Davis, State Agent for Home Demonstration Work; W. N. Cunningham, Assistant Professor of Mechanic Arts.

Appointments: T. P. Campbell, Dean of the College; A. W. Drinkard, Acting Professor of English; C. P. Miles, Director of Athletics; A. F. Treakle, Professor of Poultry Husbandry; F. E. Williford, Commandant of Cadets; W. A. Brumfield, Health Officer; T. C. Johnson, Professor of Vegetable Gardening; H. S. Stahl, Associate Professor of Biology; C. E. Seitz, Associate Professor of Agricultural Engineering; G. S. Ralston, Horticulturist, Extension Division, Associate Professor of Horticulture; J. A. Duff, Acting Associate Profesor of English; M. H. Eoff, Associate Professor of Printing; J. P. Keen, Animal Husbandman, Extension Division; S. Clark, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering; C. H. Pritchard, Assistant Professor of Physics; A. L. Dean, Assistant Poultry Husbandman, Extension Division; W. McGowan, Assistant Dairy Husbandman, Extension Division; G. C. Herring, Assistant Animal Husbandman, Extension Division; C. B. Ross, Assistant Professor of Poultry Husbandry; S. A. Wingard, Instructor in Plant Pathology; E. R. Price, Instructor in Journalism; E. H. Gibson, Instructor in Civil Engineering; M. C. Kibler, Instructor in Education; M. E. Gardner, Instructor in Horticulture; J. F. Eheart, Assistant Plant Pathologist, Experiment Station; S. B. Sutton, Instructor in Physical Education; W. L. Younger, Instructor in Physical Education; B. C. Cubbage, Instructor in Physical Education; H. C. Turner, Instructor in Animal Husbandry; Hugh Ross, Jr., Instructor in Horticulture, Assistant Horticulturist, Extension Division; Anna M. Campbell, Instructor in Education; W. L. Skaggs, Instructor in Music; W. J. Groth, J. F. Heise, O. Marron, F. P. Pitts, C. Schoenthaler, E. L. Traylor, J. B. Haumesch, Instructors in Military Science and Tactics.

Summer Activities

During the summer vacation the following activities were in progress on our campus, all of which are considered successful: summer classes for college students for making up back work and deficiencies—30 classes, 14 instructors, 55 students, 6 weeks; training course for teachers of vocational agriculture, 7 classes, 5 instructors, 18 students, 2 weeks; training course for teachers of trades and industries, 10 students, 6 weeks; training course for home demonstration agents, 5 students, 6 weeks; short course for boys and girls of the clubs, 129 boys, 48 girls, 7 days; conference of teachers of vocational agriculture, 45 in attendance, 8 days; farmers' institute, in annual session, 3 days, attendance estimated at 800 to 1,000.

The summer school for the coming summer has been organized on a better and more systematic basis.

Several members of the faculty rendered valuable services to the State of Virginia, without remuneration, during the vacation period, among which may be mentioned: a survey of the State Farm by Professor Burkhart, Instructor Gibson, and assistants; road survey between Blacksburg and Christiansburg by Professor Begg and assistants; inspections and recommendations concerning the removal of structures owned by the state at Virginia Beach, Professor Johnson; and inspections and recommendations concerning electric-power plants at the state institutions at Staunton and Williamsburg by Professor Johnson and Electrician Minter.

Professor Holden worked for the State Geological Survey, and Professor Stahl for the United States Bureau of Plant Industry.

Professor Ellis spent most of the vacation here working constantly on the new engine-house. His services rendered without remuneration saved the college a considerable amount in engineering fees.

The agricultural staffs have been active during the summer as usual.

Student Enrolment

During the regular session there have been enrolled 798 students, together with 53 in attendance at the farmers' winter short course. The attendance at the various summer courses in 1920 was 310, making the total enrolment for the year 1161. That this is a distinctly Virginia institution is shown by the fact that only five per cent. of the total resident students came from outside of the state. The enrolment for the year is considerably in excess of any former year.

The entrance requirements were raised to fifteen units, allowing two conditions which must be made good before the beginning of the second year. The faculty is now considering the advisability of recommending that conditional admission be abolished after the coming session. All former students were required to make written application for readmission this year and we declined to accept a considerable number of applicants whose records had been poor in studies or behavior during previous terms. An institution suffers no permanent loss by tightening up on its requirements for attendance in the manner indicated, but it greatly benefits in the long run.

The farmers' winter short course, given in February, was encouraging. The Y. M. C. A. scholarships were a help in this connection. The enrolment was about double that of last year. The greatest difficulty is experienced in finding suitable quarters for short course students, otherwise we could bring here a much larger number. It is not inappropriate to comment that those who tell us of the hundreds and even thousands who attend short courses in other agricultural colleges fail to note that these other agricultural colleges are located in centers of large population where housing accommodations may be readily secured. In Blacksburg the village and campus are already overcrowded and it is thus impossible to provide lodging for any considerable number of additional persons.

Guidance For Freshmen

In the study of curricula, etc., presented to the Board last year attention was called to the great elimination of freshmen in the first term of their attendance. A special effort is being made this year to reach the new students and assist them in becoming oriented to the college life and work. All freshmen are being required to attend a class twice a week in which are considered definite problems related to the adaptation of the individual student to the college, advice is given as to methods of study, economy of time in working, using the library, etc., and a series of lectures is delivered by the heads of the several divisions of the college to point out to the students the requirements and opportunities of the various vocations for which the college trains, with a view to helping them choose intelligently their future occupations. Records will be kept, and vocational tests and rating scales used as far as possible. While several years will be required to determine the real value of this innovation it is believed that some helpful results will be noted during the current session.

Incentives To Scholarship

It is being recognized all over the country that our colleges should consider seriously ways and means of holding the attention of students to the main purpose for which the colleges are operated, since it is apparent that influences tending to divert the student from his work are becoming more numerous and portentous. A faculty committee has been at work on this problem for the past two sessions, and among the results may be mentioned the establishment of a chapter of the honorary society of Phi Kappa Phi, the provision of a number of teaching fellowships, and the recommendation for three undergraduate honor scholarships. It is provided that membership in the honorary society shall be limited to the graduates standing in the highest ten per cent. of each year's class; that the fellowships shall replace the present graduate assistantships; and that the three undergraduate scholarships shall carry a remission of fees for the student who in his preceding year has led his class. This will cost the college only $153 a year, and will doubtless be a wise investment. [These measures were approved by the Board.]

Student Assembly

For the first time in many years, this year there has been inaugurated a weekly general assembly of the student-body. A program of exercises and speakers has been arranged for the entire session, the effort being to cover as many as possible of the various interests and activities of the institution and the student-life. It is hoped that this contact between students and college officials will result in more cordial relations and more helpful cooperation, as well as afford opportunity to instruct the students along certain general lines which will benefit them.

Placement Of Graduates

The demand for graduates in every field represented at the college has been unprecedented during the past year. There has been no difficulty in placing graduates, the difficulty has been in finding enough young men to supply applicants. Only a small fraction of the available places have been filled, and many students who did not return to complete their courses were tempted away from college in this way. It has also been quite difficult to get a sufficient number of graduates to return to supply the need here for assistants in the various departments.

Student Welfare

Provision for the physical welfare of our students has been made this year on a more extensive scale than ever before. The employment of a full-time health officer was a very wise step in this direction. Excuses from military drill and other exercises have been based on facts revealed by examinations; and it is believed that these examinations and the records kept, together with the watchfulness of the health officer have reduced the amount of sickness.

The religious influences of the institution have been quite active this year. The Young Men's Christian Association was never in so flourishing a condition, and its usefulness has been greatly extended. Plans are now being made to improve the building of this organization still further during the vacation. Not only has it helped supply conditions for a wholesome social life, but it has also led in the religious life of the student-body. Because of the somewhat misleading propaganda sometimes used by institutions other than those supported by the state, it is not out of place to mention the following facts: more than 95% of the faculty are church members; about 77 % of all students regularly enrolled are church members; altho attendance upon Sunday school is purely voluntary no less than 25% regularly go; more than 75% of the students belong to the Y. M. C. A.; about 65% of all students are regularly enrolled in Bible study and mission study classes, the attendance upon the same being about 79% of the enrolment in the classes; and twenty or more students have been going regularly to conduct Sunday school and prayer meetings in nearby rural districts.

In matters of discipline the commandant during the year has exercised unusually fine judgment, fairness, and tact, together with the necessary firmness, and much has been accomplished toward the raising of standards of conduct. He has devoted much time and attention to revising the regulations of the institution, and it is believed that when these are put into effect a decided improvement may be expected.

Student Expenses

The Board authorized an increase in the charge for table-board. During last summer it appeared necessary by reason of the increased cost of labor and fuel to raise the charge for laundry from $1.75 to $2.00 per month; the charge for room, including heat, light, and janitor's service from $28.75 per session to $40.00; and by reason of the greatly increased cost of cloth and labor it became necessary to advance the price of uniform from $109.50 to $116.00. These new prices were published in the July, 1920, bulletin, with the exception of $1.00 which had to be added to the price of uniforms at the opening of the term in order to prevent a loss in the tailoring department. Because the contingent fees last session barely covered the cost of repairs and replacements it was considered advisable to increase the deposit from $7.00 to $10.00. These expenses were discussed in detail in the bulletin, and it is hoped they were shown to be fully justified. [These changes were authorized by the Board.]

The Y. M. C. A. of the state has provided a fund for a large number of scholarships for ex-service men who wish to take courses in agriculture of various lengths. A number of appointments have been made but there are still many scholarships available for the two-year course and the winter short course. For the latter the entire expenses of the student are paid from the time he leaves home until he returns there. The J. Frank Clemmer, Jr., athletic scholarship has been awarded this year for the first time, and it is hoped a similar scholarship will soon be available. There is a great demand for means of financial assistance. Many students are given employment but there are still many who cannot be supplied with any financial aid. In this connection attention is asked to the fact that the Virginia Military Institute is allowed sixty state scholarships (one for each of the state senatorial districts and the others at large) each amounting to $420 a year. This is in addition to the arrangement whereby all Virginia students are entitled to attend free of tuition. This gives a great advantage over us, altho 95% of our students are Virginians as compared to 50% at the Virginia Military Institute. It is recommended that the Board request additional scholarships with the necessary appropriation therefor, in the next biennial budget. [This was deferred for further consideration.]

It being desirable to keep the charges to students as low as is consistent with the service rendered, and in view of the lower prices now obtainable on certain food supplies and also on materials for uniforms, it seems possible to reduce the charges for these. Board can probably be safely reduced from $25 to $23 a month. The price for a complete uniform outfit can probably be safely reduced to $100. It is recommended that these reductions be made for the coming session. [This recommendation was adopted by the Board.]

There has for many years been dissatisfaction among the students because of the contingent deposit, not particularly because of the amount, but on general principles. A thoughtful committee of the faculty recently came to the conclusion that the destruction of college property, which has been much too great here, was due in large measure to the resentment which the students feel toward this charge. For several years practically no individual has received a rebate on this deposit because some student organization has pledged the students, frequently against their will, to permit the treasurer to transfer any balance in this fund to the organization. Many members of our faculty feel that this has had a pernicious effect. It is also believed that we may safely reduce the amount of this deposit. It is recommended that the contingent deposit for the coming session be reduced to $7.00, and that rebates be made only to the student or his parent or guardian. [This recommendation was adopted by the Board.]

Many students are forced to leave the institution each session because they have insufficient funds to continue. This is frequently due not to the legitimate college charges but to the pressure brought to bear upon them by the students, to pay varying amounts for the support of a large number of student enterprises of more or less worthy character. Even tho a student may not have the funds to spare, and even tho he may have the money but his judgment dictates that he not spend it in this manner, it is practically impossible for him to resist the personal pressure brought to bear upon him and remain happy in the student life of the institution. We have sought to discourage extravagance, and have printed a statement in the catalog with this in view; but the whole matter is a most difficult one to handle since it is almost entirely in the hands of the students themselves. The proud boast of this institution has been that it is a college for the young man of limited means, and a great asset will be lost unless we do something to check the present tendency to extravagance. Complaints come from parents, and even from students themselves frequently, against some small fee charged by the college or against the price of board, when at the same time the student is spending far more in contributing to the enormous and unnecessary cost of dances, of publishing annuals, and of other purely student enterprises. The faculty desires to find some means of limiting these outside expenses of students, but the question is a perplexing one and no altogether promising remedy has suggested itself. We should welcome any help which the Board can give in this direction.

Administration Of Instruction

The new curricula approved by the Board have been put into effect and a fairly satisfactory distribution of the students in the various divisions has been secured. Following the suggestion of the medical colleges the preparation for the study of medicine formerly afforded by our course in applied biology has been definitely outlined in a two-year pre-medical curriculum. To meet a need of our extension division for county home demonstration agents it is purposed to offer a two-year course in agriculture and home economics for young women who have completed two years of home economics training in a normal school or college. The short unit course in linotype machine operation will be offered beginning next September.

Of the nine new departments of instruction recommended for establishment in October, 1919, the close of the second session of this administration sees the establishment of five, namely, agricultural engineering, poultry husbandry, printing, physical education, and social science, the last-named including courses in agricultural economics, business administration, industrial economics, and citizenship.

The credit system for the distribution of the student's time has been in effect thruout the session. A faculty committee is now making a study with a view to revising the present grading system, which is clumsy and out-of-date. The mechanical features of registration and the recording and reporting of grades are also being studied with a view to simplification and efficiency. Such changes as seem advisable will be made at the opening of the coming session.

In connection with the new organization it was decided to appoint the head professor in charge of each of the courses to be "course adviser" for the students registered in the course. This should prove of value in keeping in closer touch with the students.

Commercial Engineering

Many of our engineering graduates go into the business side of industry. Large corporations, contracting firms, municipalities, and other large employers of technically trained college men, prefer such men for positions of great responsibility, after they have had the requisite practical experience, but in order to make a success in such positions one must have some knowledge of business principles and economic relations. Many engineering graduates have the ambition to eventually own and conduct their own business. Such employers and such young men are asking that our engineering schools offer studies in the fundamental principles of business along with the engineering instruction. Some of the best positions open to our engineering graduates are as salesmen, distributors, commercial representatives, managers of industrial plants, etc., and such work requires a combination of engineering and commercial training. Again, many of our graduates go with great railway companies, and in most cases success in the transportation field requires training in business subjects as well as in engineering.

For this reason, it is proposed that our college offer a four-year curriculum in "commercial engineering," of equal rank with the other four-year engineering courses. It would not be the purpose of such a curriculum to prepare students for clerical positions, but rather to lay a broad foundation of combined engineering and commercial training, on which may be built a successful career along managerial and administrative lines, or in transportation, or in some of the many commercial phases of industry. For example, some of the kinds of work may be listed thus: departmental management of factories; determination of costs; making of contracts; calculation of depreciation; distribution of expense; economic production methods; employment and placement; labor and process tests of efficiency; compilation, presentation, and interpretation of manufacturing statistics; purchasing and handling of materials and supplies; distribution systems, sales agency management; industrial accounting, and similar work leading eventually to important positions of superintendence, works management, and general management in industry and transportation.

It is recommended that the Board authorize the announcement of such a curriculum, to begin in September, 1921. [This recommendation was adopted by the Board.]

Agricultural Service

In the lines of endeavor now represented in the work of the three agricultural divisions of the institution, namely, resident instruction, extension work, and experiment station, an extensive service is being rendered the agricultural interests of Virginia far beyond computation in dollars. A constant stream of enquiries is coming into the college on all sorts of subjects connected with our agricultural life. Aside from the service to individual farmers the college is cooperating with the various state institutions in the development of their dairy herds, the proper use of their farming lands, etc. It is a great source of satisfaction to see the constantly developing idea that this institution is the center from which should radiate agricultural information and advice. This is as it should be, and every effort is being made to let people know that they can get here without cost what will mean much to them on their farms and in their homes.

It is, however, not possible to meet all the calls that come to us. Our agricultural college is still far from being equipped as it should be to properly care for the farming interests of Virginia. At present it seems that the departments which should receive the most attention at our hands, because they have been so slightly developed here, are agricultural economics, agricultural engineering, poultry husbandry, and phases of animal husbandry other than dairy cattle, for which we have established an enviable reputation.

Cooperation with the Federal Board for Vocational Education in the rehabilitation of ex-service men has continued on an increasing scale. Six instructors are now employed for full-time in conducting this work, their salaries being paid by the federal board. Equipment amounting to about $3,000 has recently been installed by the government for the teaching of poultry-raising, bee-culture, and horticulture. It is understood that further sums will be placed at our disposal for similar work soon. This is a worthy service and should be rendered as far as the facilities of the institution will permit.

Agricultural Economics

The Commission on Country Life appointed by President Roosevelt directed attention in a convincing manner to the dictum of Sir Horace Plunkett that improvement in rural life conditions is dependent upon three things, namely, "better farming, better business, and better living." Since the inauguration of the work of the agricultural colleges and their extension divisions a very great deal has been accomplished in the first direction. The application of science to agriculture has brought greatly increased production. However, the other two factors are just as important, and agricultural colleges are now directing their attention as never before to better methods of distribution of farm products, better returns to the farmer, more economical methods of buying and selling, and better accounting, on the one hand, and on the other to the improvement of our farm homes, the work of the women in the home, and in general the environment of the countryman.

Our own institution has done practically nothing in these latter phases. We have done much for better farming in Virginia, but we have yet to do much for better business on the part of the farmers in Virginia, and also for better living in our rural districts. A department of rural economics, including agricultural economics and rural sociology, is badly needed here. This year we are offering some work in rural economics, rural citizenship, and rural sociology, chiefly in connection with the Smith-Hughes work in vocational agriculture, but this is merely a beginning. We need courses in marketing, accounting, cooperative buying and selling, etc., as well as additional work in the subjects now offered. It is hoped that next year, when the department of social science is organized in accordance with the plans already adopted, provision may be made for at least a start.

Agricultural Engineering

Calls continue to come to the college for instruction in farm machinery, farm mechanics, and other phases of agricultural engineering. Mr. Seitz, the agricultural engineer of the extension division, who is devoting a portion of his time to instruction, is in great demand all over the state and cannot meet all of the requests that are made by farmers for work on their farms. Students now in attendance, and farmers who are interested in coming here for short courses of instruction, are asking that we arrange to teach them about the operation of gas engines, tractors, and various sorts of farm implements and machines. Mr. Seitz has been very active in planning the development of this work. A large amount of farm machinery has been donated to the department for instruction purposes. This will form a valuable exhibit for farmers visiting here and provide laboratory equipment for students in the agricultural courses. It will soon be housed in its own building now being erected.

Animal Husbandry

As the pressure continues for proper representation in our agricultural college of the beef-cattle interests, and as we learn of the great success of this phase of animal husbandry in our sister colleges, it becomes more and more impressed upon us that we should do everything possible to secure in the next biennial budget ample appropriations for its proper development. Our activities in animal husbandry should also be much more extensive in hogs, and should be made to include sheep and horses as well. The new course in animal husbandry bids fair to become one of our most popular agricultural courses, if indeed not the most popular of the five programs of work. This is true in many other agricultural colleges. The live-stock industry in Virginia is growing quite rapidly. We must make ample provision for this department of instruction.

The Board has made record that it is of the opinion that the college should maintain herds of sufficient size and character for instructional purposes, representing the three chief herds of dairy cattle found in this state, namely, Holstein-Friesian, Guernsey, and Jersey; and that in addition to this provision for instruction, the college should maintain a sufficient number of Holstein cows to insure the necessary amount of milk for meeting the requirements of the dining-hall.

Poultry Husbandry

For many years this institution has realized the necessity for developing work in poultry husbandry and several times appropriations have been requested for the purpose but have not been allowed. The pressure for instruction in this line is becoming more intense, and it is apparent that our agricultural college cannot serve the farmers and poultry interests of the state as it should unless something is done. Virginia is one of the largest poultry states, and this business is growing rapidly.

In the desire to meet the demand as far as possible at this time, and with the belief that, once started, the work will impress itself favorably upon our people and have a tendency to help to secure the appropriations we need for its proper development, Mr. Treakle of the extension division staff has been asked to take charge of the courses in poultry-raising and to rehabilitate the very limited and badly run-down equipment we have in this line. He believes that we should seek to maintain here small flocks of the best strains we can procure, representing the four leading varieties raised in Virginia. He has been authorized to proceed along these lines. This project will. probably cost less than $1,000 for the coming year, and it can be financed as a part of the animal husbandry department budget.

It must be understood, of course, that this is merely a beginning, and the need for a proper development of this department with the necessary equipment and stock, should be expressed in the next biennial budget and impressed as strongly as possible on the appropriating authorities. [This development was approved by the Board.]

The Agricultural Experiment Station

The agricultural experiment station has been considerably handicapped because of receiving no increase in funds for operation during the present biennium, and has been compelled to cut down its activities to some extent, yet good work is being done. Every effort should be made to let the people of the state know the value of this fundamental work, to the end that sentiment may be developed for better support.

Co-Operation With The Virginia Truck Experiment Station

The rector of the Board and the president of this college are by law members of the board of control of the Virginia Truck Experiment Station. This station is engaged in agricultural experimentation and research with reference to the trucking interests of the eastern part of the state, and in addition to the main plant near Norfolk has charge of the sub-station on the Eastern Shore. The type of work which it conducts cannot be conducted at Blacksburg because of climatic and soil conditions. Trucking interests in Virginia are very large, and this experiment station is doing very valuable work which is recognized in an unusual degree by the farmers and business men of its section.

It has occurred to both the college staff and the director of the truck experiment station that a close affiliation of the interests of the two would be mutually beneficial. This feeling was put into definite form at the last meeting of the board of the truck experiment station.

In accordance with resolutions unanimously passed by the board, Director Johnson has drawn up a plan of cooperative work, which has been presented to and discussed in a conference composed of the rector of our Board, the president of the college, the dean of agriculture, the director of the extension division, the director of the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station, and Director Johnson of the Virginia Truck Experiment Station. We are ready to cooperate to the fullest extent in this important move, and we believe that it will mean much to have Director Johnson connected in some official capacity with the Virginia Polytechnic Institute. [The Board approved the plan and authorized the appointment of Mr. T. C. Johnson to the faculty with the title of Professor of Vegetable Gardening.]

Hygiene And Physical Training

The appointment of a college health officer has made possible the inauguration of a department of hygiene and physical training. Courses in personal hygiene and public health have been introduced into the curriculum; and plans are being made to offer courses in rural hygiene, sanitation for engineers, and preventive medicine. The health officer early in the year gives a thoro physical examination to all students. The results of these examinations are followed up with prescribed corrective exercises as may be necessary. The health officer also gives free medical advice to all students, and is paying special attention to communicable diseases. A complete system of records is being started.

The director of athletics and the athletic coaches, who are included in this department, have worked out a plan whereby all freshmen, and such other students as may desire it, will be organized into groups for athletic sports, mass games, and various forms of physical training. While intensive training for a few men to represent the college in competitive games must be continued, and while there is no desire to ignore the value to the institution of winning teams, still it is submitted that the greatest value that can corne from a department of physical training is the development for better health of the entire mass of students. To this end we expect to direct our attention so far as the facilities and conditions existing here may permit. As an outcome of the revised curricula it has been possible to lengthen the class-hours from 40 to 50 minutes, with a 10-minute intermission in addition, and yet close the afternoon work an hour earlier than formerly, thus about doubling the time available to the students for recreation each day.

Military Department

The military department of the college has been signally honored during the year. A silver cup was awarded for the high rank reached at the summer training camp. Certain privileges have been allowed our graduates who apply for army officers' commissions, no examination except the physical having to be taken. Considerable additional equipment and an additional officer have been allowed the college. The total value of war department equipment now here is about $97,000; and the annual cost of maintenance of our military department to the federal government is about $83,000. There is a possibility of securing another unit of R. O. T. C. for the coming session. Major-General Coe and other officers from headquarters have inspected the institution and have made very favorable comment on the manner in which our military work is conducted.


During the year the annual catalog of the college has been entirely rewritten. The effort has been made to give more complete information, to arrange this material better and more systematically, and to combine the historical aspects with announcements for the coming year. Plans are being made for the improvement of our other official bulletins.

Proposed Semi-Centennial Celebration

Alumni in various places have been aroused to activity during the year, and it is believed that, in general, they are taking more interest in the welfare of the college than heretofore. Plans are being started for a great reunion and home-coming in June, 1922, on the occasion of the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the college. An effort should be made to provide the necessary funds to make this occasion a great success, as the publicity and the increased support of the alumni and other friends should be an invaluable result.

Proposed Printing Plant

The Virginia Press Association is still insisting that this institution establish a plant for the training of linotype operators and other printers. It would not be wise to narrow such a project to the mere mechanical manipulation of linotype machines, and a fully equipped printing plant is necessary for success in any such enterprise. The problem is to find a suitable equipment, a proper man to have charge of it, and a way to finance it. With a complete printing plant at the college there would not only be a way of using for profit the product of the linotype machines, but also a real practical motive for the students who are being instructed on these machines and a means of informing them as to their relation to the whole trade of the printer. Moreover, a complete printing-plant here would soon be self-supporting and possibly even a source of some profit to the college, as the amount of printing to be done for our various activities is enormous.

At present a large portion of the printing of the institution is being done by the firm of J. R. Eoff and Son, of Christiansburg. As a result of negotiations with this firm it is recommended that the college lease their plant, with option to purchase same, and employ Mr. M. H. Eoff as instructor and manager. A satisfactory contract must, of course, be drawn up, including valuation, amount of rental, etc. It is probable that the present plant is worth between $7,000 and $8,000. It is proposed that the rental be based on 6% interest on the present valuation, 5% allowance for depreciation, and insurance and taxes to be taken care of by the college. To the present equipment must be added two linotype machines at a cost of $5,000, but these need not be paid for at this time.

It seems reasonable to presume that the printing done in such a plant would meet the cost of operation with a fair profit, which may be invested in the purchase of the plant and further equipment. At least $20,000 worth of printing is guaranteed by the divisions of the college each year, and this amount must increase with the expansion of our various activities. Space can be made available for this plant to begin on August 1, 1921. [The Board authorized the arrangement as recommended, including the purchase of linotype machines.]

Road Improvement

During the summer a committee from the college, together with representatives from the town, met and entertained the State Highway Commission on an inspection trip in this vicinity. As a result of the inspection of the road between this point and Christiansburg, Professor Begg, of our faculty, was requested to make the necessary survey, and work has been started on the improvement of the worst portion of this road. This is quite encouraging and there is promise of more extensive work in this vicinity. The college has also had representatives present at conferences considering the national highway which is to pass thru this section.

Educational Needs Of Women

As is well known, the war period opened to women many new fields of work, in which they have shown conclusively their ability to perform efficient service, and from which they are not quick to retire. During the last four or five years it has been common to find women engaged in work which previously had been confined practically altogether to men. Among these new fields open to women are the various branches of agriculture, applied science, and even engineering. Farm occupations as well as the ordinary household occupations have been quite commonly engaged in for many years by Virginia women. In some cases farming, dairying, and fruit-growing have been managed on a large scale by women. In some sections live-stock and veterinary medicine are receiving the attention of women. In the field of applied science there has in recent years come an immense influx of women. It is found that women make particularly good bacteriologists, entomologists, and chemists in certain branches. The achievement in research by women scientists is too well known to need the citation of cases. It is probably less well known that many women have made a success of engineering occupations. Many women are employed in mechanical drafting, and there are numerous women architects. The extension of the suffrage has doubtless greatly intensified this factor in industry. Women workers in all these lines are here to stay. The problem of providing adequate facilities for suitable scientific and technical training for women is now, if never before, a very real one, and one with which every state must concern itself without delay.

The earnest consideration of the Board is asked to the question of whether we should not plan to admit, at an early date, to this institution women who desire to take courses in agriculture, engineering, and the applied sciences in which study-programs are arranged here. The following are some of the points to be thought of in this connection:

1. This college has already received enquiries from women seeking instruction in horticulture, landscape gardening, and other agricultural branches, and were it known that the courses here are open to women it is believed there would be many more enquiries for such work.

2. This is the only state educational institution for white students which gives practical college courses in agriculture. If women want such courses and are not admitted here it will almost certainly result in some other state institution developing courses in agriculture.

3. Women being now full citizens of Virginia and of the United States, there is some doubt as to whether they can legally be denied admission to an institution supported by funds of the state and federal governments. The land-grant acts make no distinction as regards sex.

4. This college is now offering courses in many subjects which would be of special interest to women. The few women who will attend would in no sense overcrowd the classes in these subjects. The instruction would therefore involve practically no additional cost. Such subjects as the following may be mentioned: horticulture, landscape gardening, agricultural chemistry, plant pathology, bacteriology, applied biology, entomology, dairying, poultry-raising, bee-culture, pre-medical work, applied chemistry, geology, mechanical drawing, machine design, agricultural education, industrial education, and others.

5. At present in Virginia women are admitted to the University, the Medical College of Virginia, and the College of William and Mary. In only six states are they refused admittance to the agricultural and mechanical colleges of those states. These six states are all confined to the Southeast, and are Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, and Texas. In all of these states except Virginia women's colleges have been developed as independent institutions. It is altogether undesirable to establish an additional institution of this type in Virginia, as we already have far more state institutions than we can adequately support. On the other hand it would be very poor economy to attempt to develop a department of agriculture or engineering in an institution which does not now have such a department. It appears then that the logical and economical plan is to admit women to this institution where these advantages are already provided.

6. It is not probable that there would, at least for many years to come, be many women seeking admission here. In the forty-eight land-grant colleges there are 47,000 students, of which only 4,500, or less than 10%, are women. The enrolment of women at this institution within the next few years would hardly exceed fifty, and probably would be much less for the first year or two. No serious problem would present itself from the standpoint of numbers.

7. Our extension division already has a number of women on its staff of specialists. The home demonstration work carried on jointly by the federal and state governments is centered here. There is already a department of home economics for extension service. The extension division requires each year a considerable number of women as agents in various counties. Experience has shown that in the states where the women county agents are trained at the agricultural college itself there is the greatest efficiency. The federal authorities have repeatedly stated that the agricultural college is the best place to train rural workers such as these home demonstration agents, and the Federal Board for Vocational Education has repeatedly given the opinion that the home economics work supported from Smith-Hughes funds should preferably be given at the agricultural colleges. Unfortunately, when the Smith-Hughes act was passed and its conditions accepted by Virginia, our agricultural college was not in position to take advantage of it because it did not admit women.

8. Our state agent for home demonstration work makes a strong plea for us to offer this instruction at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. She considers it absolutely necessary to the success of the work that we do so. It is not beyond the range of possibility that, should this institution not admit women, some other state institution would make a strong claim for the home demonstration part of the extension work to be transferred to it. This would react harmfully on this institution even tho such a move were not successful, in that it would direct attention to our shortcomings.

9. There is now pending in Congress a bill (the Smoot bill) to establish, preferably in connection with the agricultural experiment stations in the several states, research work in home economics similar to research under the Hatch act. Should such legislation pass it would be exceedingly unfortunate if the funds resulting should go to one of the institutions now having a home economics department because this college has no such department.

10. The few women students who would enter here within the next few years could probably be accommodated with living arrangements in private homes on the campus and in the village; but, if the number grew to such an extent as to make it desirable, the present president's residence could be very readily converted into a dormitory, with dining department, for women students. It probably would be sufficiently large to accommodate all who would come for some years. It is admirably located for such a purpose, being in a beautiful location, removed from the barracks quadrangle, and conveniently near the agricultural buildings.

11. It would be quite an inducement to our professors and other members of our staffs, and to those whom we seek to employ in future, if it were known that their daughters could attend this college as well as their sons. This question has already been raised in a number of cases.

12. So far as it appears in the laws of the state relating to this institution, the power rests entirely with the Board of Visitors to prescribe the conditions for entrance of students at this college. There appears to be no need for special action by the General Assembly for authority to take such a step. It may, of course, be advisable later to ask the General Assembly to make special appropriations for this purpose, but this does not seem necessary to get the plan into operation and meet the needs for several years.

13. Admitting women to this institution would not put us in competition with colleges and schools for women in Virginia. These institutions do not offer agricultural courses of college grade, and it is presumed that most of the young women who would come here would come to take agricultural courses.

It is recommended that women be admitted to all departments of the college except military, on the same terms as men, beginning in September, 1921. [This recommendation was unanimously adopted by the Board.]

Administration And Business Management

The administrative organization approved by the Board at its meeting in May, 1920, has been put into effect, with few exceptions, and is apparently working well. The general faculty has been made to include all officers of administration, instruction, and investigation, thus uniting the staffs of resident instruction, of extension instruction, and of agricultural research, into one body of workers for one institution, which the college and its affiliated interests should be considered as constituting. The system of student advisers has been put into operation. The faculty committees are no doubt capable of improvement and a study will soon be made with a view to a better organization of them. The treasurer's office has been moved to the campus.

The business division of the institution is in need of some reorganization and extension, and it is purposed to devote a good portion of the coming year to efforts in this direction, in order that the system and methods may be made more complete and up-to-date. It is especially necessary that some more systematic and effective means be devised for controlling expenditures under the budget and for handling requisitions and purchasing. The decentralized purchasing which has been allowed in the past should be changed so that a centralized requisition system will be followed. It is also necessary to provide some effective means of making collections more promptly. The college is liable to lose under the present lack of system in this respect. The numerous service divisions are still a source of anxiety and some doubt, but it is believed that they are in better condition than formerly and efforts for their improvement will be continued. It must be insisted that all such divisions be at least self-supporting; and the past practise of making up deficits, due no doubt in some cases to poor management, in one department, with surplus receipts, due perhaps to good management, in another department, is bad business practise and not apt to encourage good management on the part of those in charge. An effort has been made to impress upon department heads the necessity for keeping their expenditures within the amounts allowed in the working budget, and with very few exceptions this has been done. In one or two cases, perhaps, only very positive measures will secure the desired result, and it is difficult to prevent trouble unless the business manager's office exercises the necessary control of expenditures.

The president has recently visited a number of land-grant colleges in the east and middle west. These visits were most helpful. A special study was made of the methods of business management, centering about the formulation and later administration of the budget. It is hoped that the result of this will be a system of business administration here which will be the equal of any to be found in a similar institution. These visits have shown that, while we have some good features in our present system, and while our business affairs have been handled in a faithful and altogether honest manner, yet we are far behind other institutions in our business methods. There is particular need of a remodeling of our purchasing methods and of our reporting. During the year, and before the next biennial budget is prepared, it is purposed to make a study of this whole situation and endeavor to work out an efficient and modern system in such phases of the work as may seem to need it.

Salaries And Houses

Salaries have been increased in accordance with the schedule adopted last year, except that we have been unable to reach the maximum of $3,600 set for full professors and have at present a maximum of $3,200. These salaries are still entirely too low, and every effort should be made to increase them as soon as possible. It is gratifying, however, to be able to report that during the current year every salary on the college payroll, except two, has been increased, altho not so largely increased in most cases as we should like.

A reorganization of the band has been effected, whereby at a total cost of a very slight additional amount it has been possible to secure the services of an instructor and leader who can give the needed time to the teaching of the cadets, and at the same time retain as assistant leader the former director.

Owing to the scarcity of labor and the high wages prevailing everywhere, it became necessary to increase the pay of practically all employes who worked by the day or hour. It was also necessary to raise the pay of the janitors from $45.00 to $50.00 per month. The clerk-janitor of the department of chemistry was increased from $70.00 to $75.00 per month.

Professor Hunt has moved into the house formerly occupied by Professor Schoene. Since the latter gives instruction in entomology in the college without remuneration, he should be paid the usual commutation for house, $300.00 per annum. Professor Holdaway has moved into the house vacated by Professor J. M. Johnson. The recently acquired house, formerly belonging to Mr. Grover C. Henderson, has been assigned to Dr. Brumfield for a residence.

The General Problem Of Salaries

At every meeting of the Board it has seemed advisable to call attention to the salary schedule at this institution as compared to the greatly increased cost of living, the increased remuneration in lines of work other than teaching, and the amounts paid by other institutions of a similar type. As the cost of living rose during the war period most social groups attained adjustment to new conditions thru advance in wages, fees, or prices. This was not true of college teachers and officials. The minor employes of this institution, especially those working by the day or hour, were, in most cases, able to force up their compensation by demands and threats to leave. Last summer we put into effect a new schedule of salaries for our teachers and officials, and all of them except two received moderate increases. It must be remembered, however, that their salaries before the war period were exceedingly low, and the increases granted this year were not commensurate with the decreased purchasing power of the dollar and the increased remuneration elsewhere. Now that the war is over greater demands than ever before have come upon college officials and teachers; but the rewards for their services are comparatively less than they were before the war.

If we assume that in 1900 the salaries paid enabled the members of our staff to maintain the standard of living suitable for the professional and social position occupied by these men and necessary for efficient service on their part, then it is pertinent to ask whether we can expect them to maintain this same standard and efficiency with incomes from 48% to 63% less. Moreover, when a vacancy occurs can we hope to fill it with a man of as high a grade as the former occupant of the position? If, by reason of their loyalty to alma mater, or by reason of long established residence and association, members of our staff are induced to remain here despite the decreased value of the compensation received, is it fair to them or to the college to let them do so?

Let it be remembered that there is an institutional side to this question. It is not by any means a matter concerning only individual welfare. Inadequate compensation for the college teacher must tend to make him less efficient. Upon him rests the responsibility for scientific research; for leadership of young people and their preparation for useful careers; for service to agriculture and industry, to the state and nation; for the interpretation of human life and the solution of its problems; and so on. This is certainly a man's job, and one demanding every iota of his attention and energy; but if a large proportion of his time must be given to non-professional activities in order to eke out a living, his efficiency as an educator must necessarily be lowered. In the case of our own institution almost a third of our officials and teachers have other sources of income than their salaries from the college, otherwise we could not retain them. In some cases their income from farm, orchard, dairy, lumber-mill, etc., is greater than their income from the college. In the case of the other two-thirds, some of whom have duties of so exacting a nature that they cannot look after any outside interests, their income is so limited that it is impossible for them to maintain the standard of living necessary for a college professor in order that he may be respected socially and be efficient in his work. The college professor who must be a man-of-all-work about his home can hardly be expected to lead that intellectual and spiritual life, free from personal anxiety, which we are so often told is absolutely essential to him who poses as a guide and instructor of youth; nor can he be expected to engage in scientific research, which requires uninterrupted application of his mental powers; nor again can he be expected to render that general public service in the state which depends so largely upon the intellectual life of the individual who would see the needs of the people and help meet them.

Moreover, it is difficult, if not impossible, for the poorly paid college professor to provide for himself those contacts with the larger world of scholarship, investigation, and achievement, which are so essential to professional growth. Continued isolation must react unfavorably on the work that is done, and it seems absurd for a professor to attempt to prepare young men for a world with which he has long ago ceased to be in contact; yet for the majority of professors, travel, further study in graduate schools, attendance at meetings of learned societies and professional organizations, even the comparatively nearby local meetings, additions to one's library of recent general and technical books and periodicals, and the other means of contact with the outside professional, literary, and social world, are all out of the question. The results must be apparent to anyone who knows anything of education and mental development. For the college itself it has a very fundamental significance, for it raises the question as to what sort of institution we shall maintain here. Can we hope to hold our place among the agricultural and engineering colleges of the country?

Data from thirty-four land-grant colleges show that Virginia Polytechnic Institute ranks lowest or next to the lowest in the salaries paid the president, assistant professors, and instructors; and that it ranks in the lowest third in the amounts paid to deans, professors, and associate professors.

Some one may object to comparing Virginia with other states, saying that conditions are so different. As a matter of fact it is very doubtful if the cost of living is any less in Virginia than in other states, and certainly we are not ready to admit that Virginians should be satisfied with lower standards of living than prevail elsewhere. However, we do not have to go outside of Virginia to show that Virginia Polytechnic Institute ranks low as compared with her sister institutions. Including the four state normal schools for women, there are in Virginia eight state-supported "institutions for higher learning." Data from these show that Virginia Polytechnic Institute ranks below all of the institutions for men and also below the Farmville Normal School in compensation of its president; and it ranks below both the University and Virginia Military Institute in everything (except the dean at Virginia Military Institute, who is a different type of officer—"executive officer"). Virginia Polytechnic Institute is a unique exception in the state of Virginia in the matter of perquisites allowed, since there is none here except house rent.

Unfortunately many people still gauge an institution by the number of students it enrolls, largely because this is such an obvious method of objective comparison. It is, though, not a fair means of comparison, because it ignores many more important factors of efficiency. For the benefit of those who lay emphasis on number of students, and who might be prone to say that our institution is not comparable with the larger institutions in the land-grant college group, we may take a selected group of these colleges with enrolments near our own, that is, less than 1,000 students. Such a group shows that there is little relation between number of students enrolled and salaries paid. For example, Nevada and Delaware have the smallest enrolments but pay salaries larger than most in the group. Virginia Polytechnic Institute with practically the same enrolment as Arizona and New Hampshire, pays smaller salaries; and with 50% more students than Massachusetts Agricultural College it pays very much smaller salaries than the latter. Even on the crude basis of number of students Virginia Polytechnic Institute ranks low in salaries paid.

A much better basis than number of students would be the amount of the annual budget, in estimating the standing of an institution as regards the salaries paid. For many years we have been driving it into everybody at Blacksburg that Virginia Polytechnic Institute is poverty-stricken and hence can do no better in compensating them for their services. There is, of course, some ground for this, but if the relative size of annual budgets has anything to do with salary schedules, perhaps attention should be called to the fact that the amount of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute budget, as compared to the budgets of other institutions in the group, is out of all proportion to the salaries paid. Our budget is one of the largest, our salaries are among the least.

This long discussion of the salary question is included in this report because of the fact that the Governor's office is now making a move to "standardize" salaries in Virginia, whatever that may mean. If this means leveling up in the direction indicated in the foregoing, then Virginia Polytechnic Institute has nothing to fear. If, however, as is apt to be the case, the present salary schedules at the various institutions are to be taken as the basis for a schedule which shall be different for the different institutions, then there is grave danger ahead. It is natural that the revising authorities, not being familiar with the details of management and the duties of the officials and teachers at the different institutions, will not be inclined to place a higher valuation on the services of these officers and teachers than their own governing boards have placed upon them. It is a duty, therefore, to acquaint the members of our Board as fully as possible with the facts in the case, so that they may take such steps as they can to be fully prepared to care for the interests of our college in this connection. We can conduct here any kind of institution that the state wants and is willing to support; but it is an impossibility to conduct a high-grade college with officers and teachers of so low a grade as can be secured for high school salaries. Class teachers in some city high schools now receive considerably more than our highest paid professor; and principals of some city high schools are receiving 20% more than any official of this college. If Virginia Polytechnic Institute is to be an agricultural and engineering college of equal rank with standard colleges in other states, if it is to give as high a standard of work as other institutions in our own state, the type of officers and teachers must be as high as at the other institutions, and this means that the salaries paid here must be commensurate with the salaries paid elsewhere. This should be impressed upon the authorities who have charge of the state budget.

If it be possible to increase our present salaries to make them more nearly equal to those paid at other colleges, before the next biennial budget is prepared, it is probable that this would be a great protection and aid in securing the proper recognition for Virginia Polytechnic Institute when this salary standardization is being effected. It is known that the other colleges of Virginia increased their salaries after the budget bill was passed, to amounts considerably in excess not only of the amounts allowed in the printed budget but also in some cases in excess of even the amounts requested in the printed budget. They justify this because of the existing emergency. Their salaries are certainly not unreasonably high. We should oppose any discrimination against Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and insist that we have such provision made as will ensure to us a faculty of as high a grade as that at any other institution in Virginia. The majority of young men who come to Virginia Polytechnic Institute come here because they think they can get the instruction they want better here than elsewhere in this state. But when we employ a man here at $3,500 to do exactly the same type of work as a man does at other Virginia colleges for $5,200 or $4,400 we are saying to the prospective student that we cannot promise him more than 70% of the efficiency he should find at the other colleges. This institution is not in competition with any other Virginia college in the field of agriculture, but it is in competition in engineering and applied science. Are we to maintain our work in these two fields on a parity with that at the other institutions, or shall we drop back to a lower level and cease to strive to be a standard college? If this were a matter merely concerning the welfare of certain individuals there would be little justification for taking the time of the Board to discuss it, but it is much more than this. Salary campaigning, if this is what it is, is education of the highest importance. Low salaries are not due to indifference on the part of anyone, but to lack of information. Beyond a doubt this question of salaries is the most vital factor in the future history of Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and the earnest consideration of the Board is asked for it.

Purchase Of Property

An agreement was reached with Mr. A. W. Miller for the purchase of ten acres of land lying within the spring area of our water-supply, and for privileges of rental, lease, and purchase of other portions of his farm. The purchase of the ten acres cost the college $4,000, this amount having been included in the appropriations made in the budget.

It appearing that the cost of building and the time required would be too great to get the greatest benefit from the fund of $15,000 provided for houses for employes, and a house and lot adjoining the college property becoming available early in the summer, it was decided to purchase from Mr. Grover Henderson the house for $5,500 and from Mr. A. Black the adjoining lot for $1,500. This rounds out the college property line in that section of the campus and furnishes for immediate use an additional much-needed dwelling at less than the cost of building. [These transactions were approved by the Board.]

New Structures

With the approval of the Governor $20,000 this year and $5,000 next year of the extension division funds were appropriated for the purpose of erecting a four-apartment house. This structure is now completed.

A professor's residence has been built, costing approximately $7,000.

A small cottage has recently been erected on the farm of the experiment station, and another on the college farm. The former was paid for out of station funds and the latter out of receipts from the college farm.

A temporary structure of considerable size has been built for the agriculturing engineering equipment, to be used as a farm machinery laboratory. The funds for this, to the extent of $3,000, were authorized by the Governor to be transferred from the appropriation for repairs to the veterinary hospital.

In connection with the erection of the new houses attention is directed to parts of two letters received from the Governor, concerning our building plans, as follows:

"Some style of architecture and general scheme for development should be adopted by the Board and adhered to in future buildings."

"I hope that you will impress upon the Board at once the necessity of having a plan for future development for the Virginia Polytechnic Institute so that those who would erect buildings in the future may have something that is harmonious and architecturally correct to guide them."

Of course, the comparatively small structures which were the immediate cause of this comment do not affect any general scheme of architecture or lay-out, especially since they are on a somewhat detached part of the campus; but the Governor's point is certainly well taken so far as important structures and the plan of the main campus are concerned. Attention may be called to the fact, however, that the small amount asked for in the last biennial budget for campus improvement was not allowed by the Governor and the General Assembly.

Repairs And Improvements

During the year a considerable amount of work has been accomplished, but not nearly so much as it had been planned to do, because of the difficulty in securing labor and materials. The cost of both has been excessive. Among the things accomplished may be mentioned: cleaning the sewage plant has been completed and the new rock placed there; sanitary arrangements have been installed in eight professors' residences in place of the dangerous and disagreeable arrangements formerly existing there; the reservoir has been improved and protected against contamination from the surface; a heating system has been installed in the only college residence without a system; several houses have been painted on the outside, and a number of miscellaneous repair jobs completed on them; the usual repairs have been made on the various college buildings; electric feed wires have been replaced for a considerable distance where the old wires were too light to serve the needs for current; the new highway testing laboratories have been completed; barns have been roofed; the Y. M. C. A. building has received considerable repairs and improvements inside; some work has been done at the mess hall and infirmary; emergency stairways at the college auditorium, and new entrances to the two academic buildings, have been completed; the veterinary hospital, the greenhouses, and some of the farm structures have received extensive improvements; heating pipes in a number of places have been insulated; electric lines have been renewed, some work has been done on the water plant; several walks have been rebuilt; and numerous minor jobs of repairing have been accomplished.

Arrangements have been made for completing the attic of the agricultural hall to provide agronomy laboratories, and for remodeling academic building No. 2 so as to provide additional classrooms and offices. For the latter the Governor authorized the transfer of $4,000 from the appropriation for repairs to academic building No. 1. A committee from the agricultural faculty has been appointed to prepare a development plan for the farm properties, in order that the funds now in hand for improvements to these structures may be used to the best advantage. A farm repair shop will be erected during the summer, and probably some other minor farm structures. The laundry building has been given an additional room and new floors will soon be laid. Three excellent tennis courts have been built and fitted out by the college during the year, and this should be followed by the construction of three additional courts as soon as possible. Orders have been placed for material for the replacement of the present wasteful parallel street and campus lighting system by a series system, funds being now available for a good portion of the area to be covered. Much additional repairing is needed, and some of this may be had with funds now available during the coming summer, but the barracks and certain other buildings are sadly in need of extensive repairs requiring large sums of money.

Plans have been prepared for remodeling and enlarging the college hospital; and provision should be made in the next biennial budget for either this or a new hospital adequate for the growing needs of the college. Plans have been prepared for remodeling the kitchen portion of the mess hall building, and this should be done as soon as the funds can be made available. Another need to which reference has been made in former reports, is the completion of the mechanic arts building, the large amount of unused space there being badly needed for the pressing requirements of certain departments.

The sewerage plant has never operated satisfactorily and during the year $2,500 was expended in efforts to put it in proper condition, the Town of Blacksburg paying one-half of the amount. The results are still not what they should be, and a series of experiments are now being conducted with a view to ascertaining the cause of the trouble and securing more satisfactory results. These experiments are in charge of the departments of civil engineering and bacteriology, and the sanitary engineer of the State Board of Health has given his assistance.

Central Heat And Power Plant

A new engine-room has been built at the central heat and power plant, but there has been great delay in securing the equipment, which was ordered many months ago. It is hoped to complete this installation during the summer. It should be cautioned that these improvements, while removing the immediate danger of collapse which we have been fearing, will by no means give us a complete and modern plant. The building in its present shape is very discreditable to the institution, and should be completely remodeled as early as possible. The new equipment is of approved modern type, but there is need of additional equipment of this sort to make an adequate plant. When attention is called to the fact that more than 40% of our students are enrolled in the courses in electrical and mechanical engineering it will be immediately recognized that we should have at an institution of this sort what may be considered a model power plant. It is the most important laboratory we have for engineering students, and it should represent to them nothing but what is considered good practise in the industrial world. It has been everything but this, and has served only to show students what they should not do when they go out to take charge of boilers, engines, and electrical apparatus elsewhere.

Not only should the power-plant building be remodeled and additional equipment provided, but our heating system should be greatly extended to take care of the two academic buildings, the mess hall, the infirmary, and perhaps other buildings near the central quadrangle. It is inefficient and wasteful to continue to maintain the altogether unsatisfactory independent heating-plants in these buildings. Moreover, we are running considerable risk in doing so. At the present time the boiler at the mess hall is in very bad condition and the inspectors from the insurance company have objected to it more than once. It is poor economy to continue to replace such boilers and heating-plants when they break down, because it is an expensive makeshift arrangement which may cause serious trouble at any time.

At my request Professor Ellis made a careful study of the heating system as it is at present, and he estimates that, on account of the uninsulated steam mains and the inadequate and out-of-date piping and radiation in the various buildings, we are losing approximately $4,000 a year in wasted steam. It would be economy to invest a considerable amount in remodeling and extending our heating system, and efficiency demands it.

The heating engineers employed to study the heating system and make recommendations for remodeling and extension, have formulated a plan and estimates, which should be considered in connection with the next biennial budget, as this is one of the most important improvements needed. [The Board approved the plan.]

Messrs. Wiley and Wilson, heating engineers of Lynchburg, who were employed under contract to plan the installation of the boilers added to the central plant in the fall of 1918, still have a claim against the college for about $900 as balance due them according to their contract. Apparently there is nothing to do but settle with them on the best terms possible. This is another of the old debts and agreements of which there is no clear record, and which consequently were not provided for in the biennial budget on which we are now working. It is hoped that, in the near future, all of these old debts may be discovered and cleared up in some satisfactory manner, so that we may go forward with a plan of development.

Fire Protection

Authority was given to increase the amount of insurance against fire, but nothing has been done in this direction except to accumulate some data. In view of statements sent out from the Governor's office, advising certain other state-supported institutions not to increase their insurance, it seemed best to postpone any action in this matter.

Two small chemical fire engines have been installed as authorized some time ago. These additions to our equipment give us fair means for fighting fire when the school is in session. The chief danger is during vacations. Fire escapes are needed on certain buildings, and it is purposed to install these as soon as possible.

Need For Space In Barracks

Because of the large enrolment it has been necessary during the last two years to assign three students to many rooms in the barracks buildings. None of these rooms is large enough for so many occupants, and the only way in which they may occupy them is by use of the "double-deck" bed. This arrangement is unsanitary and the crowded conditions are subversive of both discipline and study. This situation should be relieved as early as possible. It is not only not possible to increase the number of students now enrolled, but it is desirable to reduce the present number unless additional lodging space is provided.

For a number of years certain rooms in the barracks have been used for various purposes other than the lodging of students. Rooms which were formerly bed-rooms have been converted into toilet-rooms in a number of cases, and this probably could not be avoided, altho the present toilet facilities are certainly not yet all that should be desired. But numerous other bed-rooms have been turned to other use. In the first place, more than half of an entire barrack building is set aside as apartments for faculty and employes, which not only takes up space that might be used for about seventy students but is also most undesirable from many standpoints and should be done away with as early as possible. In the second place, rooms in barracks are used for a variety of purposes, more or less necessary perhaps, but taking up the space for from forty to fifty students. The book-store occupies five rooms for which an annual rental is paid. The shoe-shop, pressing-shop, and barber-shop all occupy rooms for which no rental has been paid, not even for heat and hot-water supplied. Other rooms are used for storage of military equipment, for post-office, student-publication room, and other student purposes.

It is probable that we should ask in the next biennial budget for an additional barrack building, but it seems somewhat doubtful as to whether we shall be able to justify it fully when the present barracks are capable of accommodating at least a hundred additional students if they can be cleared of the non-bedroom uses to which reference has been made. The use of these rooms seems to be a matter of some years standing, but the privilege is not justified, particularly in the case of the barber-shop, pressing-shop, and shoe-shop, all of which pay no rent altho doing a profitable business. The Monogram Club has been collecting the profits from the pressing-shop and the barber-shop, and the shoe-shop has been permitted to operate as a purely private enterprise. These are all, in a sense, "protected monopolies" and the wisdom of the arrangement is doubtful. The Monogram Club is now asking permission to control the shoe-shop, also. Those who conduct these enterprises should preferably be made to move out, but if this is not done they should at least be required to pay rent for space and heat. [The Board directed that the rooms occupied by the shoe-shop, pressing-shop, and barber-shop be vacated and used for student bed-rooms.]

The Current Budget

During the present year we are following the printed budget of the Governor, with the exceptions approved by the Board from time to time. Transfers of funds were authorized by the Governor in accordance with the requests of the Board.

The present salary scale will be followed for the teaching year beginning July 1, 1921. However, we should move forward one year in the salary range for full professors. When the salary scale was adopted the maximum was set at $3,600, but because of lack of funds we have thus far been unable to reach beyond $3,200 as a maximum. The maximum set by the present scale for grades below that of full professor has been reached. It is recommended that we move forward to $3,300 as a maximum for the coming year for full professors. [This recommendation was adopted by the Board.]

While we are managing so as to keep within the appropriations made to the institution, many of our sister colleges are not doing so. It seems to be generally recognized that, in view of the abnormal conditions still existing, an institution is justified in going ahead of its budget and providing for its necessities, depending upon the next Legislature to recognize the conditions and make good the deficiencies. The United States Bureau of Education recently collected information on this subject. From this it is learned that about one-half of the sixty-one institutions from which reports have been received report deficits in operating expenses ranging from $7,000 to $500,000. Twelve of the sixty-one colleges state that they have had to borrow money during the year, and two others say they probably will have to do so soon. One-half report that they have been "compelled to use budget prematurely," while one of the largest says it had to abandon its building program in order to take care of its operating expenses. Comparatively speaking it looks as if our own institution is in pretty good shape financially, and is quite conservatively managed. It may be said that there appears to be no hesitancy on the part of most institutions to take care of their well-recognized needs even tho it means exceeding the budget.

Departmental Operations

The State Board of Education for the year beginning July 1, 1920, made to this institution appropriations from the Smith-Hughes vocational teacher-training funds, of $7,697.53 for vocational agriculture and $3,997.55 for trades and industries. These amounts, particularly the former, being considerably less than we had anticipated, it seemed necessary to cut down the budgets of these departments. In the department of agricultural education we thought best to drop an assistant professor who had been authorized as an addition to the staff, and to readjust the salary of another member of the staff, these two items effecting an economy of $1,625. This still leaves us about $4,000 short of the amount we need for these two departments. This is a valuable work and should be developed, but not in advance of the appropriations that can be secured for the purpose.

During the year the animal husbandry department lost its most valuable herd sire. Fortunately there was insurance on this animal amounting to $5,000, which was paid in full, thus covering the loss to a great extent.

As authorized by the Board the charges for electric current to consumers other than the college employes were increased, and notice was served that increased fuel and labor costs would necessitate still further increases in the scale.

The report of our mining operations showed that we were running at a small loss, and since the cost of mining and delivery of the coal became greater during the summer it seemed necessary to take immediate steps to increase slightly the charge to purchasers. There has been considerable doubt as to the economy of operating the college coal mine, and Professor Burkhart has recently made a study of the entire situation. It seems that under the lease it is necessary to continue operations for two more years or pay a forfeit of $1,000, for these two years, consequently it is apparently advisable to continue unless further developments are unfavorable, but the prices of the coal should be such as to cover the cost of production.

The coal supply for the past year has been quite unsatisfactory and has cost much in excess of the amounts allowed in the budget. For the current year the state purchasing agent secured a contract for $3.25 as against $3.00 a ton last year; but we are assured that the coal will be of a much better quality. The high cost of the coal and the freight rate will cause a large deficit for the two years.

The New Biennial Budget

Work on the new biennial budget of requests has been initiated in the various departments and divisions, the heads of which have been instructed to report their needs not later than July 1. It is understood that the Governor and his budget advisory board expect to visit the institution during the summer for an inspection, with the budget for the coming General Assembly in mind. It is hoped that this visit can be arranged for the month of August, as it is desirable that the budget be completed in tentative form by the time of the visit and this is hardly possible until sometime in August. It is recommended that the Board meet at that time, the date to be fixed after notification from the Governor as to the date of the visit.

Data collected by the United States Bureau of Education show that the land-grant colleges in other states are increasing greatly their requests for appropriations for both operation and capital outlay. In many cases these institutions are no larger than our college, but they are already receiving much more in the way of appropriations. We may learn lessons from them. Our sister institutions are alive to the increased demands now being made upon them and are planning to develop their facilities to meet them efficiently. If Virginia Polytechnic Institute is to keep her place among standard colleges, the lesson is quite plain, and we should be prepared to follow its teaching. In a recent visit to eighteen of the agricultural and mechanical colleges, among them both large and small institutions, nowhere has been found a plant so badly in need of rehabilitation and additions as the one here. Compared with even small institutions like Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Delaware, an honest observer must say that our plant, with the exception of one or two buildings, presents a primitive, makeshift, even dirty and poverty-stricken appearance. The whole idea here for many years seems to have been that we must do things cheaply and meet the current needs, regardless of the future. The unfortunate part of this is that at present we are suffering from this policy, because time has brought deterioration to cheaply built structures and equipment to such an extent that only large sums of money can rehabilitate the plant and make it what it should be.

Other institutions with far better plants are pushing campaigns for large amounts. Our main dependence must be the state which we serve, and we should not hesitate to make our wants known, and to push our claims in every proper way. Our people must learn to spend money on educational facilities like other states have learned to do. Virginia may well follow the example of North Carolina even tho she cannot follow richer states. The place Virginia Polytechnic Institute will fill in the educational work of the state and nation for the future will depend in large measure on the forthcoming budget.

Conclusion Of This Report

It may well be said that we are closing a very successful year of the college, when all things are taken into consideration. Members of the various staffs, practically without exception, have worked faithfully and efficiently. The death of the Rector of the Board has added a chapter of sorrow. On Commencement Sunday the president of the college spoke as follows:

"On Sunday morning just four weeks ago the Virginia Polytechnic Institute suffered the loss of the Rector of its Board of Visitors, The Honorable John Thompson Brown. Thruout his life he was active in public affairs, and he possessed a wide knowledge of laws and of people. He served in the General Assembly and in the Constitutional Convention, and as a member of numerous public boards. He was especially interested in the rural life of the state, and for more than thirty years he devoted practically his entire time to aiding in its development. During this long period of service to his state he never held what may be called a remunerative position, but he gave freely of his energies to any cause which appealed to him as being for the interest and progress of the people of Virginia.

"He was first appointed to the Board of Visitors of this college in 1890, just before the renaissance of the institution under the leadership of our honored President Emeritus. His service on the Board was continuous to his death, with the exception of a period of four years, thus comprising twenty-seven years of membership, for about seventeen of which he headed the Board as its Rector. During this long period he was ever zealous in furthering plans for the expansion of the work of the college and its affiliated interests. At the time of his death he was also chairman of the board of control of the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station, of the State Crop Pest Commission, of the Livestock Sanitary Board, and of the board of control of the Virginia Truck Experiment Station. In his home community he was a leader, and for many years he was a trustee of the New London Academy and the agricultural high school of Bedford county, and a vestryman and senior warden of his church.

"The people of Virginia, and particularly the agricultural interests, have lost an able advocate and a faithful servant; and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute has lost a loyal supporter, a wise counsellor, and an enthusiastic worker for its proper recognition and development. He will be greatly missed in the deliberations of our Board of Visitors. The responsibility which he has borne so faithfully now falls upon us, and we must carry forward the good work, cheered and inspired by the example of faith, and of hope, and of love, for the college, which he has left us."

1919-1929 Reports

Early President's Reports were published in bulletins, with multiple reports in each bulletin. Note that the original spelling of many words (enrolment, remodelling, etc.) has been retained.

1930-1931 Report


General Report of the President

Reports of

The Dean of the College

The Dean of Agriculture

The Dean of Engineering

The Chairman of the Summer Quarter

The Committee on Graduate Programs and Degrees

The Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station

The Director of the Engineering Experiment Station

The Director of the Agricultural Extension Division

The Director of the Engineering Extension Division

The Librarian

The Adviser to Women Students

The Health Officer

The Secretary of the Young Men’s Christian Association

Statistical Tables

Statistics of Enrolment and Graduation

Summary of Treasurer’s Reports

1929-1930 Report


General Report of the President

Reports of

The Dean of the College

The Dean of Agriculture

The Dean of Engineering

The Chairman of the Summer Quarter

The Committee on Graduate Programs and Degrees

The Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station

The Director of the Engineering Experiment Station

The Director of the Agricultural Extension Division

The Director of the Engineering Extension Division

The Librarian

The Adviser to Women Students

The Health Officer

The Secretary of the Young Men’s Christian Association

Statistical Tables

Statistics of Enrolment and Graduation

Summary of Treasurer’s Reports

1927-1928, 1928-1929 Reports


1927-1928 -- General Report

1928-1929 -- General Report


Enrolment Statistics

Summary of Treasurer's Reports

1925-26, 1926-27 Reports

1925-1927 Introduction

1925-1926 -- General Report

1926-1927 -- General Report


Appointments, Tenure, and Salaries

Vacations, Office Hours, Records, etc.

Enrolment Statistics

Summary of Treasurer's Reports

1919-1925 Reports



1919-1920 Report

Preliminary Statement

First General Report

Second General Report

Special Report on Instruction

Special Report on Organization

1920-1921—General Report For The Year

1921-1922—General Report For The Year

1922-1923—General Report For The Year

1923-1924—General Report For The Year

1924-1925—General Report For The Year

Enrolment Statistics

Summary of Treasurer's Reports